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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, July 3, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. - Pablo Picasso


Story of the Tour de France Volume 2

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Vol 2: 1976 - 2018 is available in print, Kindle eBook & Audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour de France stage two team reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Stage winner Fabio Jakobsen's Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl posted this:

Fabio Jakobsen added another page to his remarkable comeback story, almost two years from the injury which left him fighting for his life, confirming again his extraordinary mental strength and fighting power. That journey, which for more than eight months took him through a long and arduous recovery before pinning on a number again, continued in Denmark, where the 25-year-old racked up Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s second victory in as many days after an incredible rush to the line in the final meters of the stage that ended in Nyborg.

Fabio Jakobsen wins stage two. Sirotti photo

The day began with Yves Lampaert resplendent in the yellow jersey he had taken at the end of Friday’s individual time trial, when he became the first Belgian in four years to lead the Tour de France general classification, and continued in a rather uneventful manner until the peloton entered on the 18km Great Belt Bridge, where the riders were alert due to the risk of echelons.

There were no crosswinds, but the tension led to a crash, the yellow jersey being among those caught in the pile-up. Fortunately, Yves had teammates Mikkel Honoré and Michael Mørkøv, the former having already put in a gargantuesque effort throughout the stage, who quickly erased the 40-second deficit and helped him return in the bunch.

The entire Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team hit the front in the closing kilometers of the stage, with Mattia Cattaneo putting in a monumental effort that helped the Wolfpack dominate the finale, which was marred by a huge crash inside three kilometers to go. Guided by Michael and Yves, Jakobsen remained at all times near the head of the peloton, waiting for the last 150 meters to unleash a devastating sprint and beat everyone else by more than a wheel for his 11th victory of the season.

“Getting here was a long process, one where I took it one step at a time, with many people helping me along the way and giving me tremendous support. This win is for them, my way of saying thank you, so that they see it wasn’t for nothing. What happened two years ago is something that will forever stay with me, but I was fortunate to overcome it with the help of many incredible people. I’m happy I still enjoy riding my bike and racing, and luckily, I can still win. It’s an amazing day, and that’s why I want to thank everyone that helped me be here.”

“The team did a great job, keeping me in a good position when we exited from the bridge, then on the tricky corners and on the finishing straight. I am grateful to them, this victory wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates. Once I was alone, I launched my sprint at 150 meters to go, passed the other two guys and took the win. When I tell it like this it sounds easy, but it wasn’t. At the same time, this is what we train for, this is why we race. We worked hard for this, not just myself, but also the team. Taking a Tour de France stage is something I have been dreaming about for 15 years, since I started cycling. It’s the biggest event in our sport and that’s why I will remember this for the rest of my life”, an emotional Fabio said after his sixth Grand Tour victory.

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Here's the Tour report from new GC leader Wout van Aert's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Wout van Aert is the new wearer of the yellow leader's jersey in the Tour de France. The Belgian of Team Jumbo-Visma sprinted in the second stage on Danish soil to second place. Thanks to the bonification seconds, he took over the jersey from compatriot Yves Lampaert. The green points jersey is now also in possession of Van Aert.

Wout van Aert will start stage three in yellow. Sirotti photo

The expected ‘echolon stage' proved not very spectacular due to the weather conditions, though it was a nervous race. Team Jumbo-Visma kept leaders Jonas Vingegaard, Primoz Roglic and Van Aert well in front the entire stage. "I expected a bit more action, but in the end, it wasn't that bad. A Tour stage is always hectic, so you constantly had to be alert”, said Van Aert.

The Danish spectators, numerous along the route, saw Van Aert sprint to second place in the streets of Nyborg, behind stage winner Fabio Jakobsen. "I have seen a very strong team, with which we were always in front. Christophe Laporte did a great job for me at the intermediate and the final sprint. Also, on the bridge and in the race to the last kilometres, we were always well positioned."

Van Aert also wore the maillot Jaune in Paris-Nice, the Dauphiné and is now allowed to wear it in the Tour de France. "Putting on the jersey gives a great feeling. I have been close to it many times, but this time I managed. Despite my two second places in the past stages, the yellow jersey is a nice reward. I will defend and wear this jersey with pride. In any case, there are still many chances for a stage victory to come."

The Fleming had nice words for stage winner Jakobsen. "I respect him a lot. We all know what happened, which makes this even more exciting. He's also a very nice guy; he deserved this victory."


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Here's update from third-place Mads Pedersen's Team Trek-Segafredo:

The first road stage in the Tour de France is always stressful. Add some wind and a long, exposed bridge ahead of the finish, and it takes it to another level.

There were a whole lot of nervous riders anticipating crosswinds in the last 70-80 kilometers, and when the peloton hit the Great Belt Bridge the wind was full-on – from the front.

It turned into an uneventful slow crawl over the spectacular passage and then, as always, a fast, chaotic rush into the finish.

The peloton zips thourgh rural Denmark. Sirotti photo.

Trek-Segafredo timed its lead-out perfectly. Jasper Stuyven took the front in the final half kilometer and left Pedersen to take on the final big effort.

Mads launched. One hundred meters to go and he still looked good. But in the last 50 meters a speedy Fabio Jacobsen spoiled the homecoming.

“I opened the sprint 200 meters to go,” Mads explained. “Fabio was coming so fast in the end, so congrats to him; I couldn’t do anything else. We did everything right. He was just faster. The whole team did a perfect job today. We knew it would be difficult with Fabio Jacobsen and [the other sprinters], so in the end 3rd place is okay.”

The anticipated crosswind over the bridge never materialized. A headwind finish with a fresh peloton does not make for an easier ending – in fact, quite the opposite. Crashes marred the final kilometers and fortunately Trek-Segafredo escaped unscathed. And then the big boys took over. Quinn Simmons, Alex Kirsch and Jasper Stuyven provided a textbook set up for Mads.

“It’s chaotic to do a finish like this, always,” agreed Mads. “It’s difficult to get right but I think we got it right. It’s just my lack of power in a sprint and we couldn’t do anything else. I want to win, of course, but it’s not easy for me to win a bunch sprint with a guy like Jacobsen here.  I am pretty happy with it. It shows I can be in the mix of winning and if everything is going my way then I can win a sprint as well. The dream of winning in Denmark is still possible tomorrow.”

One more day of home advantage for Mads and he would love nothing more than to give the Danish fans what they deserve.

“Absolutely crazy – the crowd is amazing,” said Mads. “Here’s thanks to everyone who is following and supporting us on the road. It’s something that is really special and gives us goosebumps every time.”


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And here's the stage two report from fourth-place Danny Van Poppel's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

The first road stage in this year’s Tour de France brought the expected hectic final. Even the wind came most of the day from the front, one could feel the tension in the bunch. After an early break was caught the race was full on when the peloton entered the Great Belt Bridge where a first big crash including the Yellow Jersey happened.

The race came back together again but another crash just outside the kilometer mark forced another split. BORA – hansgrohe was always present at the front and also managed to avoid all crashes. Danny Van Poppel was surfing from wheel to wheel to finally cross the line in fourth place while Fabio Jakobsen took the win and the Yellow Jersey sits now on the shoulders of Wout van Aert.

You can see Danny Van Poppel on the left, with his head down. Photo: Getty Images

“I think it is one of my talents to find a wheel without a real lead-out and to surf from wheel to wheel. After the bridge they went full gas, and it was really hard and Groenewegen ahead of me exploded a little bit. I had the power to pass him, and I wanted to go early, but there was a lot of headwind and I just followed when the sprint started. I took fourth and I am really happy with the result.” – Danny Van Poppel

“It was definitely different than I expected. I thought there will be people at the start and finish and maybe at some points. But there have been people everywhere the whole 200km. I expected the race to be hectic, and it was hectic. But the team did a great job to keep me in position and out of trouble and actually, it was a day where I could save some energy.” – Aleksandre Vlasov

“The race turned out as we expected. Because of the headwind it was not a lot of action during the stage even there was always some pressure in the bunch. But because of that relatively easy stage the final was even more frantic as a lot of guys had still something left in the tank. For us it was a good day, we stayed out of trouble and to have Danny in fourth place in the end is a bonus.” – Rolf Aldag, sports director

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